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Introduction Jane is a ten-year-old fifth grade student in Mrs. Vincy’s classroom. She attends Kingwood Township Elementary School in Frenchtown, New Jersey. She lives at home with her parents and younger brother. Her mother is a stay at home mom, and her father is a businessman. He is not home very often. Jane has her room, however, there is not a television in it. She does not watch very much TV, but her favorite shows include, iClary and Hannah Montana. Jane prefers to spend her free time playing guitar. She has a lesson once a week, and wishes that guitar lessons were offered in her school along with all of the other music lessons. The student does not have a set bedtime, however, on a school night she usually goes to bed around 9:00. She told me that she likes to read every night before she goes to bed, so sometimes she stays up later because she does not want to stop reading. She has a few books at home. These include the ones that she has already read. Many of the books the student reads, she checks out of the school library. Overall, this student enjoys reading, and this has been very beneficial. Jane reported that she really enjoys school. Her favorite subject is reading, and her least favorite it history. She enjoys reading very much, and reads many books. Since she reads so often, Jane considers herself to be a good reader. All the different books that she reads make her a better reader. Interesting books make her want to continue to read, and this improves her reading abilities. Jane will usually read science fiction books, or books that are about the future. For example, she is currently reading Catching Fire. If she could select a book on any topic is would be a science fiction
book. Jane also enjoys writing. In her class they write many stories, and her favorite writing assignment is when her teacher assigns the class to write a fiction story. She has a very wild imagination, and her stories are very interesting to read. She is a very good writer overall. If she went to a new school, she would want the teachers to know that she enjoys reading and writing stories. She knows how important reading is for her future. People read everyday, and it’s a very important part of life. Knowing how to read, and read well, will be very helpful to her future.
II. Running Record On March 25, 2012, Jane was asked to read aloud from the novel, Catching Fire. At this time a running record of her oral reading and miscues was recorded and a brief comprehension check was taken. In terms of comprehension the student was able to retell what she had just read. She understood the reading, and successfully recapped important details from the text when asked to do so. In terms of word recognition, Jane was able to read almost all of the words in the text without any difficulty. There were a few words that she self corrected after she miscued. Also, when she skipped over a word, she would go back and read it, another form of self-correction. There were very few, if any, words that the student did not recognize. Jane read the passage from the novel with fluency. Her inflection as she was reading was good, as she paused at the end of sentences and after commas. Jane was able to read the passage with very little difficulty.
III. Columbia Reading Assessment
On March 27, 2012, Jane was given a Columbia Reading Assessment. At this time she was reading independently at level S, which is the end of fourth grade. This instructional level was determined when the teacher assessed the student in January. The assessment given in March showed that her instructional reading was at level T, which is the end of fourth grade and the beginning of fifth. Once the instructional level was determined, the frustrated level was not assessed; therefore it is unknown what the frustrated level of the student would be. The student had been given the assessment in January, and she was reading successfully at level S. She was later administered a level T assessment in March. In terms of comprehension, the student understood what happened in the text. She was able to retell important and key events of what she just read when prompted. From her retelling, it was shown that Jane was able comprehend what she was reading. She remembered specific details from the passage as well. When asked literal questions, the student was able to answer them correctly. However, they did not have a lot of detail. Even though she was able to give answer for inferential questions, they were more difficult for her. This made the assessment instructional for the student. In terms of word recognition, she was able to recognize almost all of the words. While she was reading she initially read gliding as sliding, but she self corrected. The student was able to recognize the word, and self-correct her miscue. She repeated one of the words and skipped another. However, there was one miscue that was not selfcorrected. She was able to read almost all of the words without difficulty. In terms of fluency, Jane was very fluent. She was able to read the story with confidence, and it was very smooth. She only stopped in order to self-correct. There
were no pauses between words. She knew to stop after punctuation and commas as well. From the Columbia Reading Assessment it was found that she had an accuracy of 99%. This was because she had three miscues, two were self-corrected, and one was not. Jane read with fluency. She was able to answer two of the four comprehension questions, and give simple answers for the inferential questions. The student’s retelling expressed important events from the text. Therefore, this is the student’s instructional reading level.
IV. Writing Sample On March 8, 2012, Jane was asked to write a passage about a problem or conflict. Since this was a non-fiction writing assignment the student was very excited. This was her favorite type of writing assignment because she enjoys making up a fictional story. After a few minutes of brain storming, the student began to write a story that contained a conflict or problem. Jane wrote for approximately fifteen minutes during their writing period. In terms of content, Jane had good organization. There was a beginning, middle, and end to this short story. The story was detailed, and had a clear problem. The student successfully met the objective of the writing assignment. She was able to elaborate on the details of the story in order to establish good characters. She included dialogue in the story as well. This helped her develop the characters in her writing. There were also variations in Jane’s word choice. Jane chose words that were complicated or difficult for a student in the fifth grade. Overall, the story made sense, and the student successfully met the objective of the writing assignment.
In terms of mechanics, Jane was very successful. She has a good understanding of the use of punctuation. It can be seen that this is one of her strengths through her correct usage. Jane used the right punctuation at the end of sentences, as well as in her dialogue. After the dialogue, she correctly started new paragraphs and indented the first sentences. Jane also had good sentence structure that varied though out the story. However, her capitalization could not be assessed with this writing sample because for some reason, that is unknown, she used all capital letters. I looked at other writing samples to look at the student’s capitalization, and she correctly used capital letters at the beginning of sentences, names, and proper nouns. Jane appears to be a transitional speller. This means that the student is able recognize the spelling of words form visual memory, and they are able to determine if the word looks right. Transitional spellers understand conventions of spelling of the English Language. Jane had the most difficulty with words that have an ‘a’ and a ‘u’ next to each other. For example, she is unable to spell daughter. She seemed to be sounding out the word because she didn’t know the correct spelling off the top of her head. She had little difficulty with most of the words that she used. This may be because she used words that she already knew how to spell, and she didn’t want to take any risks. When I looked at her spelling tests, she got spelled each word correctly. Overall, Jane is a very good speller for a fifth grader.
V. Summary After conducting several informal assessments, I have concluded that Jane’s strengths as a reader are fluency and word recognition. The student also has good
literal comprehension, however, she struggled with inferential questions. When I administered the Columbia Reading Assessment I noticed that even though she was able to answer the literal questions, there was no a lot of detail in her inferential questions. In order to further develop her skills as a reader the student should be encouraged to think inferentially while she is reading. Since she is able to comprehend literally, she needs to work on her inferential comprehension in order to become a more successful reader. Jane’s strengths as a writer are her mechanics, content, and organization. She includes a beginning, middle, and end in her stories. She elaborates her details, and can develop good characters. She correctly used capitalization and punctuation as well. She has the most difficulty with the spelling of words that she has not seen before. She attempts to spell them out if she uses them, but most of the time she will not take a risk with words she does not know. To further develop her skills as a writer, I would encourage her to take risks with words she does not know. She could learn new words through reading, and using more advanced words will improve her writing.
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